back to article Microsoft: NSA security fallout 'getting worse' ... 'not blowing over'

Microsoft's top lawyer says the fallout of the NSA spying scandal is "getting worse," and carries grim implications for US tech companies. In a speech at the GigaOm Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith warned attendees that unless the US political establishment figures out how …

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  1. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Duh!!!

    Does this revelation really surprise anyone? Other than maybe Congress Critters and the like?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Duh!!!

      It surprises me. Mostly that anyone would believe it. Mr. Smith is mixing the facts here for the sole purpose of partially explaining away declines in some of their consumer products. It doesn't take a financial genius to see where he's pulling his numbers from.

      What doesn't surprise me though is how cheap it was to make everybody happy after all this. The Brazilians upped their US tech spend, the Chinese and IBM got everything sorted and an extra 18 month extension on the rest of the packages that replaced the deals they called off and renegotiated. The Germans have been a touch bitchy, but there's nothing new there. They'll cave too. Just like everybody else already did.

      The time to fix any of this passed by half a year ago. I think everybody sold out, far, far too cheap. The proles can be as outraged as they like, they aren't not going to buy the stuff, well, maybe not as much from MS, but nothing else has changed a bit.

      1. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Duh!!!

        "for the sole purpose of partially explaining away declines in some of their consumer products"

        Except for this: we're not really talking about consumer products - yes Windows desktop is a thing for Microsoft but it's actually doing well commercially, and that data from other companies supports the argument.

      2. Chairo

        Re: Duh!!!

        @ Don Jefe,

        There are short term repercussions that are probably not very bad, mostly due to no available alternatives, but in the long run there will certainly also be other effects.

        The problem is not so much, that the people are afraid of US spying. I suppose most understand very well, that the direct impact on themselves or their company is rather low.

        The problem is that there are enough people outside that thought of the US as a friend and now feel disgusted and betrayed. Usually people tend to forget bad experience rather quickly, but being betrayed by a supposed friend is something that causes a trauma that doesn't go away just like that.

        The US government's reaction was pretty much the worst thing they could do. Obama's assurance that they only spy on non-US citizens, so everything is fine, was not exactly helping. The perception outside of the US is, that the US government doesn't give a damn. Ten years ago, the US were seen as a superpower and source of stability for the world. Now they are seen as a sinking ship. The ageing bully that hasn't yet understood, that his time is over. China sure is doing everything to strengthen that picture and the US seems not to notice it.

        Oh, btw. this is also plays into the terrorists hands. They don't plant bombs to kill all westerners. They do it to fight our liberal, and open society, that they hate from the bottom of their hearts. The NSA's actions might have saved some people from terrorist attacks, but by doing what they did, they helped the terrorists agenda nicely along. Certainly far more than any successful attack could have.

        You want to tell me, that all this will not have any consequences? Really?

        1. Don Jefe
          Stop

          Re: Duh!!!

          Yes. There have been very little in the way of consequences. Like I said, some individuals are mad, and rightfully so, but the actual impact on business and international relations has been negligible. Everybody sold out.

          For Christ's sake, Brazil was the first to fold. All that bitching and moaning, then their new data protection laws are being implemented and overseen by US companies. As I said above, the Chinese deals were better than before. Don't get me wrong, the Germans took their silver too, but want you to know that they wholeheartedly disapprove, mostly, enough to walk back their tough talk and increase imports from the US. One of our portfolio companies does 90%+ of their work in Europe and they grew nearly 200% last year, even though every single thing they do gets sent through the US before it comes back home.

          There's no point in blaming me for this. They're your leaders and they sold you out for, effectively, nothing. The whole entire mess is one of the more disgusting things our country has done and, at the end of the day, nobody who mattered gave one single shit. Nothing changed, and arguably, it all got worse. Now you've got the UK just straight up bragging about how they too are looking into every bit of Internet traffic they can get hold of.

          This was sorted many months ago and your just deluding yourselves if you think anything changed. It should have changed, but all it took was a little more of the same party favors political types like to give out and the problem went away. If you've got a problem with that bitching at me won't help. You need to get your leadership sorted and get people in office with the stones to say no. Your leaders, your problem and anything that isn't you lot moving them out of office is an absolute waste of time and dangerously distracting.

          1. Chairo

            Re: Duh!!!

            Sorry, if you feel I'm bitching at you, or blaming you. Not at all. I really enjoy reading your comments. They are one of the reasons I read El Reg.

            I completely agree about the short term concequences. There are very few, indeed. Right now politicians have a lot of unemployed and unhappy workers to worry about, overreach of the security agency of a foreign power is certainly not on top of the agenda. Espeshially if said foreign power is the only one between you and your big and agressive neighbor (like China or Russia).

            Companies might think twice, about their IT profile, but in the long term the bean counters will always win.

            As for the long term consequences, however I am quite sure there will be effects. A good brand image is nothing you easily repair. And countries are in many ways very similar to brands.

            The NSA activities have damaged the US brand. Inhowfar this will have consequences, is open. It is certainly not a good thing.

            Additionaly their activities pushed along the terrorist's agenda and helped them de-stabilizing our society. That is arguably the worst thing they could have done. Funny, that hardly anyone seems to mention this.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Duh!!!

              In October of 2011 I spoke to my barber. He was ranting on about how we needed to invade this country and that country and root out those terrorists. I told him then that such action is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. He didn't get it. He probably still doesn't get it.

              When this is widely understood, and I pray we are at a turning point, we may be able to restore our society and make some true progress toward peace and security with dignity.

        2. apjanes

          Re: Duh!!!

          "The ageing bully that hasn't yet understood, that his time is over."

          Absolutely. In addition to NSA shenanigans draconian laws such as FATCA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Account_Tax_Compliance_Act) and the excessive penalties the US are willing to use to force other countries to comply show that the US doesn't give two hoots about anyone but itself, including it's so called allies.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Duh!!!

            What puzzles me is that despite all this hi-tech spying the US and its allies still seem to be taken aback each time another Saudi protege appears to wreak mayhem.

        3. WalterAlter
          Stop

          Re: Duh!!!

          What we desperately need to understand is that there is a tier of customers for NSA data and analysis that remains off the books in the black ops shadowlands. We need to ask why the NSA needs to collect virtually everything rather than just terrorist linked stuff.

          1. Crowd control. Attitude demographics are key to floating various policy programs. The crypto fascist financial oligarchy wants to know what the public will tolerate in the way of overt surveillance/police state attributes, financial fleecing via austerity measures and targets for black ops - financial destruction, assassination, etc.

          2. Helping out our guys. Our mega corporations benefit from industrial sabotage, market analysis, data on competitors' plans and internal structure, money flow and political trend data.

          Halliburton, Bechtel, Utah Construction Co., GM etc. are all the actual primary customers for NSA data. Our military and govt. agencies take the crumbs.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Duh!!!

          @Chairo -

          "You want to tell me, that all this will not have any consequences? Really?"

          Correct because the only issue the USA has is a temporary PR problem.

          Every nation does the exact same thing. You can tell the public don't give two craps because they still use Facebook, Skype, G+ etc; themselves nothing more than privacy intrusion networks.

          The total observation networks are here to stay - get used to it.

    2. Anon5000

      Re: Duh!!!

      Amazing that they thought it would just 'blow over'. It's not just a issue with their products that has not been fixed or won't be fixed in the near future, their reputation is shredded and their customers don't trust their data with them. That won't blow over even if there are claims they have fixed the US government problem through law, as we don't trust that will actually change anything.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Duh!!!

        Salesforce, AWS, Google Cloud, they are all equally affected.

        If the current action with Microsoft trying to protect the customer data in Ireland against the US Feds fails, then it will pretty much mean it is illegal to use any cloud business with ties to the USA.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Duh!!!

      actually I think it has largely blown over; it certainly doesn't seem to have affected google or amazon, but this is microsoft, who have been doing nothing but losing market share for the past decade, and blaming that on a 3rd party is pretty convenient.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Duh!!!

        I think you need to check your stats.

        The ones where MS is having record quarters. And the ones where MS is now number 2 in cloud - behind AWS (but catching) and ahead of the others.

    4. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Does this revelation really surprise anyone?

      I am not permitted under the current legal strictures from admitting that I hold an opinion one way or the other.

    5. agricola
      Boffin

      Re: Duh!!!

      "Reader--Imagine yourself to be a blithering idiot.

      Now imagine yourself to be a member of Congress.

      But I repeat myself."

      --Mark Twain.

  2. brooxta

    Cloud security

    When it comes to security in the cloud or in closed source products I am reminded of the Henry Ford quote about his cars, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." The modern IT equivalent appears to be, "You can have any kind of information security you like so long as it is crap."

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge

      Re: "You can have any kind of information security you like so long as it is crap."

      Well no... You CAN have good security AND privacy, just not with any

      American cloud providers...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "You can have any kind of information security you like so long as it is crap."

        Or most European cloud providers either - seeing as most will be compromised by their own security agencies who are happily cooperating with the NSA

      2. Chika

        Re: "You can have any kind of information security you like so long as it is crap."

        The problem with the idea that you can have good security and privacy within any provider in any country is that we only really know about some of the providers and their agendas.

        Yes, Merka has been found out and in a very big way, and a few other countries have also been fingered but it all comes down to the fact that you never know for sure what is going on with any given cloud in any given country because it isn't your machine.

        Until a way is found to make absolutely sure that both security and privacy can be maintained and groups like the NSA can be pinned down, use clouds at your own risk.

    2. NoneSuch

      Re: Cloud security

      "Military intelligence"

      "Business ethics"

      "Empathic politician"

      "Cloud security"

      1. Mitoo Bobsworth
        Thumb Up

        Re: Cloud security

        @ NoneSuch

        Excellent list of Oxymorons - have an upvote.

      2. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

        Re: Cloud security

        Well, I had to make it 50.......

      3. BlartVersenwaldIII

        Re: Cloud security

        > "Cloud security"

        Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

        The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

        And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

        My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

        1. Gannon (J.) Dick
          Pint

          Re: Cloud security

          I'll drink excessively to that.

        2. Fatman Silver badge

          Re: Cloud security

          Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

          (emphasis mine)

          As I read that, I am caught in a quandary,

          1) Are you an IDIOT?

          2) Did you forget your <sarcasm> tag?

          I certainly hope it is not #1.

    3. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: Cloud security

      Cloud security is only an issue when you rely on the cloud provider's security. A solid Needham–Schroeder protocol implementation with decent security primitives and HSMs can get you client-side encryption without affecting performance. The cloud service should be a zero-knowledge service, in that it traffics in and holds encrypted data, but hasn't the keys to decrypt it. If you do your job properly this will work with both structured and unstructured data.

      I guess it means admitting that we're responsible for the security of our data, and not the cloud provider. That's something I don't see often.

      1. Steve Gill

        Re: Cloud security

        This would work nicely for simple storage, but what about SaaS where the service has to have full access to the data to work?

        The SaaS suppliers are the ones most likely to be hit the hardest by this as the US gov is effectively making them illegal for European companies, at least, to use.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cloud security

        Or, for the layman, something like Spider Oak.

      3. apjanes

        Re: Cloud security

        Encrypting may work for today, but isn't the NSA storing encrypted data as well in order to decrypt it when computing power makes it easy enough to be worth while?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cloud security

      To be fair, Ford started off making the Model T in different colours. But when it got very popular and Ford had other models, the Model T only came in black to reduce the entry cost still further. Ford wasn't stupid. Even his "history is bunk" remark is misunderstood; he was saying that history books contained many falsehoods, which is true.

      I mention this only because an information security monoculture is a bad idea, and nobody in their right minds would want it (I do not think that some of the spooks are in their right minds). But that does imply that actors outside the US must supply competitive alternatives. So long as BlackBerry remains Canadian, so long as Huawei is building infrastructure, the US can't enforce a monoculture. I note that a Russian company has now developed a chip-and-PIN system independent of Mastercard/Visa. Snowden may actually have done quite a lot to make the world a more secure place.

  3. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    "..ordered by a secret court to hand over data and not tell anyone about it."

    That is the real issue here. A lot of damage can be repaired by immediately dismantling the FISC and charging everyone involved in it with treason (I don't think there is even a word of the Constitution that the concept of a 'Secret Court' doesn't violate).

    Hell, they could at least allow companies to reveal the contents of the request after the fact.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "..ordered by a secret court to hand over data and not tell anyone about it."

      That will happen the day after America allows its citizens to be prosecuted for war crimes...

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: "..ordered by a secret court to hand over data and not tell anyone about it."

      After the conviction, execution not by lethal injection but by at a minimum burning at the stake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "..ordered by a secret court to hand over data and not tell anyone about it."

        ...given recent reports, burning at the stake was probably more humane.

  4. Gray
    Happy

    Entirely too simple?

    "We have tightened the rules. Our agencies respect the new rules. Trust US."

    Ayup. Trust regained. As simple as that.

  5. David 45
    FAIL

    Unsurprising

    Well - what did they expect? Seems the most logical outcome to me!

  6. Charles Manning

    Really?

    It seems that whenever an industry hits the skids they are always out to blame some external factor.

    The reality though is that events do not happen in a vaccuum. There are other trends happening too.

    When the US economy declined in 2001/2 it was blamed on 9/11, but the trend was clearly there before this.

    Microsoft has'nt done anything interesting for a decade or so - they've been too successful and too arrogant for too long and have lost their way.

    Even without the NSA stuff, the US tech industry was already sliding. Gone are the days when everything happened via Silicon Valley. We now have most of the world's cell phones routers etc running on Asian designed chippery with UK-designed ARM cores inside with no involvement of Silicon Valley.

    Sure, the advance of worldwide adoption of Chinese products was being thwarted by US-led xenophobic FUD. The NSA bunfight squashed that.

    So the trend has always been there, the NSA nonsense is just making it happen a bit faster.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Exactly. MS has been predominantly a cash cow for a long time. Cash cows decline over time, and that can upset those who had overlooked their bovine attributes. No wonder they look for scapegoats.

      Which is not to say it's total ****. One element in a mix.

      Downbeat story about Oracle today too. In the same boat?

      On the other hand, contrast today's Reg story about another US tech company: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/19/red_hat_q1_2015_earnings/

      1. moiety

        Re: Really?

        I can't think of a single good move MS have made recently...I doubt if the NSA stuff has helped; but they should be looking in a mirror first.

        I had a look at signing up to XBox Live recently, with the idea of giving this multiplayer stuff a go. They wanted me to take out an XBox live subscription (sacrificing TWO email addresses in order to do so); they then wanted more money to allow multiplayer; and would only accept payment types that were registered to a credit card. You maybe get to take the piss financially OR harvest my data if it's something I want badly enough; but you certainly don't get both.

        XBox One - wall-to-wall fuckup of historical proportions

        Windows 8...is not being well received.

        And so on.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    Stay away from US products...

    ... buy Chinese ones...

    1. lambda_beta
      Linux

      Re: Stay away from US products...

      But wait .... 99% of US products are Chinese!

      1. PeeKay

        Re: Stay away from US products...

        Could this be why the US proclaimed Chinese companies were into espionage - so that their 'toolkits' found in Chinese built US hardware are plausibly denied?

  8. rob miller

    pot kettle black

    "I just think that one of the fundamental prerequisites for being in the cloud business is you must offer services that people trust,"

    because corporations are so much more trustworthy than governments.

  9. Euripides Pants Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And this guy is a lawyer?!

    "a double-digit decline in people's trust in American tech companies... has put trust at risk,"

    With amazing reasoning skills like that, I hope he's not allowed to eat with a fork.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A key problem is this...

    Even if your CloudFog is hosted outside the US, i.e. within the EU. There is a risk the Five-Eyes beginning with the UK will intercept the data anyway and send it back to the US forthwith. The UK is America's bitch, the Gulf wars confirm that and their Defence and Spying interests are mutually aligned!

    I don't see a solution to this short of unplugging from the cloud entirely...As a company owner I now keep all my data offline. I use different machines and different parts of the network when needing to access the net. I have no choice, at one end I'm fighting Crypto-locker / Code Spaces vectors, at the other its our state overlords... In the middle its Symantec with products that only work some of the time! ...What's one to do...?

    Just like the banking crisis reset the world economy, the security / privacy outbreaks have reset the net IMHO. I think we are headed back to a 1990's model, namely, sensitive data stays offline, no exceptions....The Code Spaces story yesterday was terrifying. I'm sure they thought their backups were ring-fenced, but assumption is the mother of all fuckups!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A key problem is this...

      Now try doing that if you are a european company with development teams in 5 different countries.

    2. Scroticus Canis
      Happy

      Re: A key problem is this... - "The Code Spaces story yesterday was terrifying"

      Think you might just have solved the Cloud Spaces recovery problem. If they ask really nicely maybe the NSA will give them a copy of their slurped systems and data back from the NSA's on-line archives.

      Who knew the NSA might have some real benefit to the masses?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Who knew the NSA might have some real benefit to the masses?"

        That's a good one!

        1. plrndl

          Re: "Who knew the NSA might have some real benefit to the masses?"

          Scott Adams has of course been here: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2013-09-06/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Who knew the NSA might have some real benefit to the masses?"

            "Scott Adams has of course been here: "

            Seriously, that's too funny. The Five Eyes are missing a huge PR trick here. They should be offering 'free backups' to everybody. It could dramatically change the perception of the public to spying....

    3. WalterAlter

      Re: A key problem is this...

      >>The UK is America's bitch

      It would behooveth you to get a handle on how international banking is really and truly and unmitigatingly carried out on this planet. The brain of the globalist beast resides within European banking, principally the City of London, I don't care what your popularizing financial editors might be fed. I'm going to tell you one thing kid, Bilderberger.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    View from the Trenches

    Yes, this effect described by the article is true.

    It is an avenue for other non-US companies to gain share-- even though their spy agencies do the same thing. And, the MSS and their catspaw PLA is cracking everyone and not even being very secret about it; at least 3 letters like the BND are a bit circumspect.

    The net result is that no one will trust any company not of the same nationality (except maybe for the America-UK-Australia axis of symbiotic spy agencies). So far the greatest impact is on American companies now that it is known that the AUKA government can gag and bag to get data via secret kangaroo court order. But, logically, the same effect applies to very country it is just the others have not yet been outed.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spying not the real issue

    Spying is not the real issue or problem. It's the lack of accountability, oversight and transparency. Governments have been spying since the dawn of time, but what has changed is the political attitude that they can do whatever they want and it should be secret.

    National and state police forces around the world have operated effectively without the need for secrecy.

    The other major problem is the sharing of data collected by spy agencies. In the pre-9/11 era, spying went on, but the government kept a very tight lid on what happened to the data. Now everything is secretly shared with every government department and the government thinks nothing of lying in court or to the judiciary.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Spying not the real issue

      What has changed is the ease with which total surveillance is possible.

      Between Facebook, Google, MS, Apple, Twitter, Amazon, the banks, and the telcos, most people don't have many secrets left.

      And that's just plain data traffic - never mind cellphone location tracking, number plate tracking, facial recognition and tracking on CCTV and public transport, and industrial profiling of personal networks to find possible leads.

      Forty years ago the worst that would happen was a phone tap, and maybe you'd have your mail read. If you were really dangerous you might make some new 'friends' who'd appear to share the same views, but would be keeping an eye on you.

      Now it's obvious who the malcontents and dissidents are - and where they live, who their friends are, what they like to eat, and who they met last week.

      So if the govs get a kicking over this, that's no bad thing. When we have symmetrical monitoring - when, for example, MPs, civil servants, and professional lobbyists have to make all their financial records public - then we might find some trust again.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    There's a way to get this fixed....

    Until the NSA is brought under control, Silicon Valley should simply stop hosting fundraisers for pols like Obama and Hillary Clinton. Amazingly and coincidentally, you would probably see rapid progress on rolling back the surveillance state.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazing !

    No-one blaming Snowden (yet)

  15. Sirius Lee

    In global economy it is ludicrous for Smith to say a) the only way is for the US to stop spying; or b) governments should respect each other. Commercial companies have alternatives but its not as good for the US tax authorities.

    Instead of Microsoft, Google and Amazon being US 'cloud' companies all over the world, they can facilitate the creation of local or maybe regional champions. Invest in them at an arm's length and encourage major local investors to participate. Then instead of owning the whole supply chain, some of which could be summarily chopped off, they own a significant portion of independent companies around the world but act like investors and advisers rather than owners. Of course such a strategy has its risks but, clearly, so does doing nothing.

    This is not a new thing. It's pretty much how the world worked before mass communication allowed some to believe it is possible to control everything from a single location. In the days before mass communication is was necessary to involve locals and act at arms length because managing day-to-today operations from some distant land was not an option.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      "This is not a new thing. It's pretty much how the world worked before mass communication allowed some to believe it is possible to control everything from a single location."

      Seriously Sirius Lee, you are just millimeters away from being right ... Mass Communication does not validate that control belief. Assholes and Amoral Monsters have "the belief" and imagine they got it from Mass Communication.

      The "Silk Road" worked because it had the Pope on one end and the Mongol Khan on the other. There was no Mass Communication involved, what actually "worked" was the fear of turning your back on either the Pope or the Khan.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bullsh*t - "big tech companies have the resources to properly secure data."

    Big "Cloud" companies just make an easier target for the NSA and it provides a one-stop shop for the NSA to go sniffing around.

    A/C because they are watching!

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "work to clear up the rules"

    But the NSA doesn't respect the rules, and we have no way of controlling that it does anyway.

    So this whole statement is just a load of hot air.

    Oh, wait. Nevermind.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up their game

    They just need to spy better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Up their game

      You mean, not get caught out again...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long Wait

    Nothing will get done until it starts hitting tech companies in the pocket and they going drying top the congressman/woman to put pressure on SUGov to sort out the spooks.

  20. Zot

    Houses of Parliament

    If Parliament is using Microsoft's cloud based Word, then I guess it's perfectly OK to hack and read all the letters and contracts passed around down there, after all they're an American company so the spying is all legal, right?

  21. Dave Howe

    But surely....

    The very public PR stun... erm, I mean defence of their customer base MS recently staged should instantly restore credibility? After all, of COURSE we believe MS only got one NSL in the last year, and the FBI backed down when faced with MS Lawyers.....

  22. Mike Fleischmann

    The problem is that windows 8 reports everything

    I don't think this has anything to do with spying, it has to do with windows 8 reporting EVERYTHING to microsoft. In my opinion windows 8 is spyware. I have personally recommended against it to every business I know.

  23. 101
    Childcatcher

    The room still stinks

    I think the plan all along by NSA, Five Eyes, governments and corporations was the Snowden Revelations would indeed stink up the room a bit, but after a few news cycles, maybe two or three weeks....all would be fine and then back to full speed ahead.

    The corporations must be stunned to find the room still stinks real bad. Not only that, they are losing billions of dollars in various ways that cannot be made up by collecting fees from government agencies.

    No amount of air freshener is going to work on this gaseous disaster. But, it's clear now too the governments and most guilty corporations have no intent of responding at all. They choose to hold their collective noses and close their eyes.

    I don't think that's a good plan, but what do I know?

  24. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Thank you ...

    Edward Snowden ... you did well.

    Andt he technical world owes a debt of gratitude to you.

    (Not so many cries of Traitor! from Mouthy Mike (Rogers) recently, either.)

  25. Anon1124

    Serves MS right for being so cozy with the NSA in the first place. Now they want to do something about it? Better start lobbying Congress on the DOD bill that was just passed out of House. Do the right thing the first time and you wouldn't have this issue

  26. Magnus_Pym

    Cloud with chance of...

    The first reaction of a lot of IT professionals when reading about internet connected business was "why the hell would you do that? It a security nightmare". Similarly the same reaction when the various different definitions of "the cloud" were mooted. Now everybody appears to be surprised that the cloud is indeed a security nightmare. As far as I'm can see this is just the long tale of computerising business still wagging from the 1950's.

    In the old days a business had one set of ledgers that where locked in the safe overnight. Messing with the post brought serious jail time but you still didn't send anything in a letter if you didn't want the anyone else to know. Couriers carried locked cases to which they had no access. You shredded or burned everything when it became obsolete. Everyone knew the rules and knew that not sticking to them made you vulnerable. Eventually these practises will be duplicated electronically as the necessity for each is re-discovered.

  27. tentimes

    It has hardly even started yet

    People take time to change their infrastructure. I am damn sure the next router/switch/box I buy will NOT be US or UK based. I am going for german stuff and I will research it properly.

    My buying decisions, and those of any sane others, have been altered for a tech lifetime. I will never believe again that I am not being spied on by a piece of US kit.

    I don't think they can restore trust any time soon. I mean, why would you believe them if they said "Oh, it's ok, we don't have any NSA back doors in it this time!". You would be a fool to believe it.

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